Tag Archives | exterior

Patio Progress

It seems like most people get to enjoy their patios during the summer: backyard BBQs, pool parties, eating al fresco… This is not the case in Houston. We face temperatures in the upper 90’s most of the day, and when that sun finally goes down there are mosquitos galore. So unless you like being sweaty and/or bitten, summer down here is not prime patio time.

But fall. Fall is AMAZING. Fall is when we dust off the fire pit, bust out the projector (we use this one and LOVE it), and binge on Fixer Upper out in the crisp air. There’s nothing better.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

So in honor of it finally starting to cool off in Texas, we’d like to walk through our patio updates, which we haven’t shared much of on the blog. When we first introduced it to our backyard, it looked a little something like this.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

It’s come a long way, but we’ve still kept it pretty simple out here. The first thing was did was order some LED globe string lights (three sets to be exact, so you can see what that amount looks like on our 280 sqft patio as an example).

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

We hung them using quick links that we hooked into eye hooks on our house, and into zip lines on our trees. Using the links made it easier to take down the lights or move them if necessary (since you can just unlock the links instead of having to unscrew or detach anything). There are probably about a hundred different ways you could attach these lights, this is just how we did it. They’ve held up well for a year now!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

The thing we love most about these lights, aside from the fact that they’re LEDs, is that the bulbs are plastic – meaning you don’t have to worry about them breaking if they get knocked around. This saved our butts when the storm ripped our gutter off the house and took the lights with it. It was a bad situation, but would have been way worse with broken glass everywhere.

We also got this timer for the lights. They come on automatically at dusk and you can set them to stay on for 4 hours, 6 hours, etc. Since they’re energy efficient, we love that we can have them light up every night. They’re pretty even from the inside.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Even though they’re LEDs they have a pretty warm glow. Not straight up incandescent warm, but still very cozy :)

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Next up on our list was to create a secondary seating area. Spoiler alert: we found wicker lounge chairs and you can see them in the photo above. Even though we already had chairs to gather around the fire pit, space to chill and read sounded nice too. The problem is that outdoor lounge chairs can get expensive! Also, we didn’t want cushions because this space isn’t covered and it rains a lot – even outdoor cushions get gross. So we were limited to cushion-less chairs.

After lots of online shopping around we finally found these. Two wicker lounge chairs that looked nice, stored well, and were less than $350 for the pair?? Yes please (and thanks mom and dad!)

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

We also got a couple of these cute teal side tables from Target that add a nice bit of color to a mostly neutral patio. We have one between the lounge chairs, and the other in the fire pit seating area.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Last we added some plants. Some have thrived. Some have… not thrived haha. The cement gray planter and taller black planter are from Target, the shorter black planter is from Home Depot (some of these aren’t showing up as available online anymore). FYI, these plants are plumeria, aka the plants lei flowers come from. Apparently they do well in Houston!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Well there you have it! This is where we are on the patio so far. We know this may not be the fanciest patio… but darn it we love it. Can’t wait til it’s chilly enough to light a fire!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

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0

How to Patch Siding

Some DIY fixes work like a charm. Some don’t work at all and you end up making things worse than they started. Others work just long enough for you to get comfortable and forget about them. I’m looking at you old siding patch.

You may remember a post from about a year ago when we noticed some holes in our siding and patched ’em up using this badass goopy stuff. If you don’t remember, click the link above :) Basically, our T1-11 siding (which is pretty much cardboard) had some weak spots at the bottom where rain had splashed up over the years. We patched it with Ready Patch (the aforementioned badass goop), let it dry, slapped on some paint, and called it good enough! It was pretty awesome for a year… and then the floodgates opened (literally, it flooded like crazy here in Houston) and our patches decided they had taken enough wear and tear.

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We decided ok… time to suck it up and pay to get this siding replaced. But while talking to the siding guy, he said if we didn’t want to replace the whole face of the siding, we could just patch the bottom of it with a protective board. He pointed to the board you see along the bottom of the siding in the photo above. See that? He said that was actually a patch that the previous owner had probably done. Basically, as long as there’s no moisture currently trapped, you can just patch over the bad stuff with a new board to protect it!

Since we didn’t want to pay $1000 for the whole face of siding to be replaced (after all, the rest of it was in good shape), we decided to try our hand at this new type of patch.

First things first, we had to rip off the old board patching the bottom. Evan used a utility knife to score the paint/caulk where the board met the siding. Then he used a tiny crowbar to pry it off. See below!

ADVENTURE-TIME

Yep we are incorporating gifs now. But only sometimes. When we remember to :)

When Evan pulled off the board, it took off a good chunk of the old siding with it. Lots of damage, but all dry at least!

Update - how to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

Then it was time to put up the new boards. We needed about 10-1/2 feet of wood, so we picked up two 6-foot pieces of 1″x10″ because we couldn’t fit a 12-footer in either of our cars. We grabbed some bricks from our garage to support the boards and used a level to make sure everything was aligned correctly.

Update - how to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

Evan nailed it in and grabbed the second board. Halfway through nailing it in, we started noticing that at least one of these boards was not flat. Or maybe the side of our house was not flat. Either way, it was not good.

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It may not look like much in the photo, but every time we tried to hammer in whatever part of whatever board was gaping, it would pop out a different corner. With daylight fading, we decided not to waste any more time on dumb non-flat boards. We went back to Home Depot looking for other options. And what we found was even better than our original plan!

First off we found this roll of waterproofing tape called Protecto Wrap that’s typically used to seal off windows and doors. We decided since our wall isn’t totally flat/straight we might end up with gaps even if we buy new boards… so we should seal it with the wrap as extra protection.

Update - how to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

We scraped off all the loose bits from the old siding before rolling out the wrap. It was definitely easier doing this with two people. Evan held the roll while I pressed it against the house. This stuff was SERIOUS. The adhesive was sorta tar-like and it molded to all the grooves in our siding.

The second thing we found at Home Depot was some hardiplank siding we could use instead of regular wood. This was awesome for three reasons- one: it’s waterproof, two: it’s flexible, and three: it’s cheaper!

It wouldn’t fit in our car so we had to borrow Evan’s dad’s truck. Worth it though! You can see how flexible it is in the photo below.

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We cut it down to size with a jigsaw. It was a little tricky to cut because the blade wanted to do its own thing, so Evan used our right angle (and some elbow grease) to keep it in line.

Update - how to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

It did WAY better than the original wood boards. We did have some trouble finding places nails would stick on the left side (hence the bajillion nails you see in the photo below) but in the end we got it pretty secure. And to be honest, we weren’t tooooo worried about it because the real protection was coming from that wrap we used.

Update - how to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

After securing it, I took over with my handy caulk gun to caulk over the gaps. We went up the sides of the window frames a bit as well where the paint was cracking.

Update - how to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

OMG IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL

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That was sarcasm. It was pretty messy. But once we painted over it everything looked great!

Painting

And now I know gifs make you looks like a crazy person. JUST PAINTING HERE I LOVE PAINT WANT SOME PAINT?!

Update - how to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

We are pretty confident about this fix! Guess we’ll check in again in a year and let you know how it’s holding up!

5

Patch Em Up

**Edit: This patch held strong for about a year. We’ve since replaced it with something we hope is better! Check it out here**

What you’re about to read is not the most glamorous of home updates. There aren’t any beautiful “Afters,” or photos with great lighting that make you want to drop your hot pocket, put on your DIY pants, and get at it. But if you’ve been getting rain like we have down in Houston, this post could be very helpful!

Our 1978 house has T1-11 siding, which is basically cardboard. I knew pretty much nothing about siding until I started doing the research, but basically this stuff is not the best over time and if it’s not sealed by a nice paint job, water damage is gonna happen eventually. Hence the two big holes you see before you.

IMG_6152 How to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

Most of the time these holes don’t even show from the front of the house since they’re hidden behind a couple unruly bushes. (Dang, that is one hot mess of a photo. Crooked light and all. Eeek!)

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But hidden or not, these guys were getting splashed with water and I’m sure all the humidity wasn’t helping either. We got quotes from a couple siding replacement companies that were crazy high (thousands!), then found a handyman who said he could do it for less, but he ended up being booked for the next couple months. So we did a little research and found a way we could put a little patch on our problem.

This badass stuff.

How to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

Basically, it’s safe for outdoor use, it’s waterproof, it goes on like spackle, and it dries rock hard. Exactly what we needed.

I waited til we had a sunny day, and before I started I wiped the whole surface down with a mixture of dawn soap and vinegar to get off all the dirt and stuff that had splashed up there. Then I scooped out a bit of the patching compound on the corner of my putty knife and went to town.

How to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

Unlike normal spackle, this stuff is more sticky and less crumbly, kinda like marshmallow fluff. So you can more easily pack it into large holes like this one.

How to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

There you go, all patched! Just to be safe, I did wait the appropriate drying time and give it one more passover just in case.

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I filled the other hole too, which was even easier because it was a lot smaller.

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We let it dry and after a quick coat of paint it was looking good as new!

How to patch siding - evanandkatelyn.com

Now we know this is definitely not a permanent fix, but it will help keep all the rain these days out of our house. And it cost a total of $5!

2

Wedding Mode: Activated

I’ve been a terrible blog-mother. I have shoved our little creation into the closet under the stairs and neglected it for almost two weeks!

Things have been 100% wedding and work over here. I’m almost at my 6-months-til-the-wedding mark so I am getting. sh*t. done. Unfortunately, that means house projects have been put on hold for a while until I feel like I get a handle on things.

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After all the vendors and logistics are in order, I’ll be tackling lots and lots of wedding DIY projects. But I’ve decided not to share a most of them on the blog until after the wedding because I realized I don’t want to give all the surprises away before the big day. But after the I do’s are exchanged, get ready for an all out wedding project EXPLOSION.

Also we decided to use this time to get stuff done on the house that we were planning to hire out anyway. So it’s still productive, just not 100% DIY. First on the list is… our patio!!!

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We are thinking about going with concrete for a more modern and geometric feel, kinda like this. Also, we thought pavers would be more expensive and time consuming. You guys have any thoughts on the concrete vs pavers debate? Most of what I’ve found online compares pavers to stamped concrete, which isn’t what we want, but it’s hard to find opinions on straight up concrete. Thanks!!

3

Timber! How To Trim Your Own Trees

Evan got to play with the ultimate zombie weapon a chainsaw on a stick this weekend.

It. Was. Badass.

The excuse for playing with this new toy was a tree in our front yard that was all up in our house’s business. Check this out.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Having a tree touching your house is bad. Having a tree pretty much EATING your house is even worse (which is sorta what we had going on). When tree branches are resting on your roof, it allows moisture to collect there and blocks light and heat (so the moisture doesn’t evaporate) and that can cause mold and rot. Since we had to replace our entire roof when we first moved in, we did NOT want to have to put any more money into that thing (roof replacement = empty pockets).

We also had a couple other trees that were starting to tickle our roof line. This one by our garage:

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

And this one near the guest room by the side of the house:

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

It was hot as balls in Houston this weekend so Evan started out in normal Texas heat outdoor attire.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

But after those first two little trees were trimmed, he decided that a shirt and some sneakers might be a little more practical. And still super sexy. Especially the socks.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

He started slicing away at the big tree and we could not believe how many branches needed to be removed. It was wayyyyyy more than it looked like from the street.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

And some of the branches, like the cut one in the picture above, were pretty thick. If you’re going to tackle something like this, make sure you cut the branches at the correct angle so that they fall away from your chainsaw blade instead of on top of your chainsaw blade. Here’s what I mean:

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

So if the cut part of the branch will fall down, you want to cut from above so that as the branch starts to crack and fall the cut you’ve made opens up and you can keep going deeper with your chainsaw. In this scenario, if you cut from below and the branch is falling down, it will close the gap that you’re cutting and trap the chainsaw inside. Does that make sense?

And this doesn’t always mean cut from the top. There are some situations that you would cut from the bottom, like if the end of a branch you’re cutting is resting on the roof and the part that falls will be the part that you cut (as opposed to the end of the branch, which is supported by the roof) so the cut will open up as it’s falling if you cut from the bottom and close up as it’s falling if you cut from the top.

Basically, just look at the branch and see which way it’s going to start falling as the cut goes deeper, and make sure the cut widens as it falls instead of closing in on the blade.

Anyways, Evan sawed away and I was on branch duty, dragging them away to make room for more fallen branches. These branches were bigger than the trees in our backyard! The one in the picture below wasn’t even as big as they got.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Evan tackled the big kahuna. Look at that thing! The part where he cut was as big around as my leg!

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

While Evan drug out that giant branch, I hopped up in the earlier trees and cleared away branches that we had cut but hadn’t fallen (they were still kinda stuck up in there).

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Then Evan did some climbing of his own and used the leaf blower to blow away all the tree debris that was still on our roof.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Finally we got all the branches into a pile and marveled at our work. Because seriously, how did we end up with that much tree!?

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

By this point we were too exhausted to saw it into bundles and tie it up with twine so we just drug the pile to the backyard to await its fate.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

And now the view outside our bedroom window kinda looks like we are living in the treetops.

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

It was an hour and a half of hard work, but it was definitely worth it (and it was kinda fun!). We saved ourselves $100-$150 bucks by doing it ourselves, which is what we were quoted JUST to trim the big tree (not including the little ones). And now our house can breathe and our roof is safe :)

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

To save you some scrolling, here’s the before and after:

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

And here are the less dramatic before and afters for the two smaller trees:

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Timber! How to Trim Your Own Trees - evanandkatelyn.com

Glad to be almost done with this project! Will be even more glad when there’s not a forest chilling in our backyard. Anyone else have a tree trimming experience where it ended up being like 10x the amount of branches you expected? Seriously, how did that happen??

6

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching

I reeeeeally wanted to title this post “So Mulch Fun” but the cardboard technique we used here was too important to leave out of the title. I’ll save “So Mulch Fun” for a future inevitable mulching post and hopefully by then you guys will forget you’ve already heard it mwahaha!

DIY cardboard mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Today we are on the third and final day of working on our front garden beds! (Check out part 1 and part 2 too!) After removing our mega-palms, adding solar lights, removing the old weed barrier, and digging up unwanted grass and bushes, we had a blank slate that was ready to be mulched! Well, almost ready. Before we laid down mulch, we wanted to add a couple things that would make our garden maintenance easier: a weed barrier of some sorts, and a soaker hose.

We had a soaker hose the previous owner left in the garage so we tested the length by winding it around our beds. It was a perfect fit! We thought this step was especially important because one of our little foxtail ferns was not doing so hot.

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

We then realized we needed to remove the soaker hose while we put down the weed barrier (we wanted it to be above the barrier but below the mulch), so off it went.

For the weed barrier, we looked into a few different options: traditional fabric weed barriers, newspaper, and cardboard. With the semi-degradable fabric ones you apparently have to remove them eventually (like we did ours) and replace it, but newspaper and cardboard biodegrade after a certain period of time and just become part of the soil, and when it’s time to add more you just add another layer on top. After digging up our old weed barrier, we didn’t want to have to deal with doing that again down the line. And we just so happened to still have a TON of cardboard boxes leftover from our attic clean-out and our Ikea shopping spree. So our decision was made! Plus little earthworms are supposed to love cardboard and that is good for our soil.

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

When using cardboard for this purpose, you can’t use any that is shiny or waxy. It has to have that flat “cardboard-y” feel. And you need to remove any stickers, tape, staples, etc since they aren’t biodegradable. After spending some time sorting/prepping the boxes, we had a pile waiting and ready to go.

But before we laid them, we wanted to go ahead and buy our mulch. Partially because we didn’t want the cardboard to get blown away if there was a time gap between cardboard-ing and mulching. And partially because having your garden bed lined with cardboard looks oh-so-classy (not) and we didn’t want it to be in that state for any longer than necessary. So I measured the square footage of our garden beds and we needed to buy WAY more mulch than I would have thought- 17 bags! That would give us 2 inches of coverage, which we were ok with since Google told us 1″-4″ was recommended.

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

While we were at Home Depot picking up our mulch, I spotted some little potted foxtails for $6 a piece. Since we dug up our rosemary it felt like we needed something else to fill the space it left. Foxtails to the rescue! Plus I think they’re cute. Like little Mochi tails.

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

We’ve never planted anything before so we just followed the instructions they came with and crossed our fingers. So far we’ve kept em alive!

Once our foxtails were in we turned our attention to the cardboard. We made sure to implement tips we had read online as we went. Before we started, we flattened the soil the best we could (this meant filling in the big holes we still had from digging up our giant palms. And we pulled any large weeds/grass that we spotted (we didn’t worry about the little ones though).

Then we just started cutting and laying our cardboard on top of the dirt, leaving 4-6 inches of breathing room around the base of each plant. Everywhere the cardboard met we overlapped it by 6 inches (so the less overlaps you have the better- try to cut the cardboard as little as possible).

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

This also required squeezing into some tight spaces, but hey if we were afraid to get a little dirty we would not have considered spending a day laying mulch to be a good time!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

As we went, we sprayed the cardboard down with our hose so that it would flatten out (and not get blown away by a sudden burst of wind or anything). Also, see how nicely the two new foxtails fill in the space that used to be occupied by the rosemary?

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

After we had fully laid and sprayed (ha! rhyme!) our first layer, we laid and sprayed a second. Most sites recommended 2-4 layers, and we had enough cardboard for about two and a half so that’s what we did.

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

This is why we wanted to start and finish this part of the project in one evening: it looked more like a hobo bed than a garden bed (I’ll be here all week)! But by the end of our second layer we had a nice base to start mulching over. Evan used his manly muscles to lift and pour the bags while my hoe and I (‘sup!) smoothed the mulch out over the cardboard.

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Of course, as soon as we finished laying all the mulch we realized we had completely forgotten about putting down the soaker hose first. Doh! So we had to lay it down on top of our mulch and then try to bury it.

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

In the end we used 15 of our 17 bags, and since the last two were maybe worth $6 (and they were heavy and messy) we just decided to hold onto them for touch ups rather than return them. Also in total we spent about $50 on mulch and the two additional foxtails (since we already had the soaker hose and cardboard, those were free). It was kind of a dirty job, but it was cheap and so worth the results!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Finally we rinsed off our dirty sidewalk and driveway and took some pretty pictures for ya!

Here is the area in front of the guest bedroom when we first moved in…

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

The same area after the grass invaded…

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

And after we fixed her up!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Here is that same area from a different angle, again when we moved in…

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Then there was so… much… grass…

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

And now here’s the after! Nicely mulched and grass-free!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Here’s the straight on view of the front door before we touched the garden beds at all. Look how closed in and itchy it looks!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

And here’s the nice clean after!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

Lastly here’s a little peek at the area to the left of the front door. Here it is before (notice how that palm looks like it’s eating our doormat).

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

And here it is after! Without all that extra palm and grass, it looks so much cleaner!

I’m thinking about buying some large planters for either side of the door where the palms used to be, but first I need to find a flowering plant that won’t die on me. I just recently learned the term “perennial” so… yeah I have a ways to go before I finish my plant research. Any suggestions about low maintenance flowering plans would be much appreciated!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

We are so happy with how our garden bed makeover turned out, we could just dance!

Yard is Hard, Part III: DIY Cardboard Mulching - evanandkatelyn.com

14

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass

Hey guys! We’re back today with Part II of our front garden bed progress (check our Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas here). Things have been super green and beautiful around here lately.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

It’s very picturesque! Until you look a bit closer at our garden beds…

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

Holy poopsicles Batman! An army of grass has infiltrated!! How did this happen?! (St. Augustine grass is a beast.) Did we really neglect things long enough for this to take place? (Yes.)

So we pulled that grass ASAP. It was quite satisfying. But we knew we couldn’t let this happen again. It was time to finish what we started two months ago: tackling our garden beds.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

So here were the problems we faced:

  • Pulling out the palms left us with big unsightly dirt pits on either side of our front door (something we mentioned fixing in our big to-do list). Not exactly the first thing you want greeting people who show up at your door. So we needed to prettify things there.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

  • You’ll also notice in the picture above that pulling up the palms revealed some weed barrier fabric and part of what must have been an irrigation system at some point. Those needed to be removed as well.
  • We weren’t crazy about our rosemary. It was taking over, and even though it smells nice it wasn’t the prettiest plant. It was actually kinda scruffy, especially that woody part in the back.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

  • We needed to either seriously trim back the grasses that lined the walk way (see em in the picture above?) or get rid of them altogether.
  • We needed mulch (ours was skimpy/nonexistent in most areas) so that the grass and weeds had a harder time popping up (and because it looks pretty!)

Before we could do anything else, we needed to remove that old weed barrier. It was already exposed in several places and it was deteriorating into this furry-like material so it looked like we had patches of dead rabbit in our garden (awesome).

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

We had to wrestle with it a bit to dig it up from underneath the dirt while crawling under/behind plants, but overall it was pretty easy.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

And when we pulled up the weed barrier, the rosemary (and a good chunk of the grass) came too!

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

We dug up the rest of the grass with our shovel/hands.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

Here is is before digging up the grass and rosemary (and before trimming that crazy looking bush on the left):

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

And here it is after we cleaned her up! It’s like our walkway can breathe again.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

We didn’t stop at the garden beds though. We decided to give our lawn a little love and attempt to get that nice clean edge (so we don’t get yelled at anymore). When Evan started edging, we realized that our beastly grass had actually grown over our driveway by about 4 inches!! And it took the dirt with it!!! See the darker part of our driveway along the edge? That’s how far out the grass had grown. Seriously this stuff is relentless.

Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part II: Clean Up On Aisle Grass - evanandkatelyn.com

After all this digging up and de-grassing, things were ready to mulch! Check in tomorrow and we’ll share how we tackled the third and final step of project garden bed.

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Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas

As new homeowners, we’ve been loving the perks of not being in an apartment anymore. We get to (someday) paint our walls. We have lots more space. We don’t have that weird downstairs neighbor that sings- badly- every night around 9pm (true story). But there is one thing we’ve found about home ownership that makes us look fondly back at our maintenance-free apartment life: yard work.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

Just regular mowing, edging, and trimming seems to get the best of us (we’ve already gotten a nasty note from our HOA telling us our edging job was not clean enough- sheesh!). Keeping up with watering and garden beds too? Hah. Hahahahaha. That just wasn’t happening.

We finally got around to fixing up our yard but it’s been a lot of work, so I’m going to break it down into three parts. “Part I” started when we took care of a big problem a couple months ago. See when we first moved in, we had these beastly palms on either side of our door.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

Things were looking a little like Jumanji around here. Not only because of the mega-palms, but also because of the jungle of weeds infiltrating our garden beds.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

One day, I could take no more. I pulled the weeds (yet again… had to do that quite often) and then decided to go to town on our palmzillas. First I used our hedge clippers to snap all those fronds off. They were huge and pointy and made it impossible to get to the base of the plant to dig it up. This guy looks kinda funny after his haircut.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

Then Evan got home and chop chopped the palm on the other side.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

By then it was getting pretty late so we called it a night, but the next day we were at it again! We grabbed the shovel and took turns digging up and taking pics. They took quite a bit of fenangling to get up out of the ground. Though it may have been easier if I wasn’t wearing a sundress and sandals. Not the best yard work attire but hey, we got ‘er done.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

Once we dug the palms up, we had to also dig up all the little alien-pod-plant-hearts they sprouted in the dirt so that new growth couldn’t come back to haunt us later.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

Finally we rid our garden of the beasts and a wave of palm-free contentment washed over us. And since our yard was one step closer to being pretty, we decided to go out and buy some on-sale solar lights to celebrate.

Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com Yard is Hard, Part I: Attack of the Palmzillas - evanandkatelyn.com

These before and afters are like day and night (literally and figuratively).

beforeafter

Stay tuned for Yard is Hard Part II!

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